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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'Ambulance' Review: 911, Michael Bay Is At It Again With Jake Gyllenhaal & Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II holding a gun as Jake Gyllenhaal grabs his armpit
Universal Pictures

Fine, we'll take the Bayt and talk about the newest action movie full of Bayhem that you've been waiting for with Bayted breath. Bayhind (this is the last one, I swear) the wheel of Ambulance is Michael Bay obviously, directing a script from Chris Fedak whose job it has been to adapt a Danish movie of the same name from 2005, though it seems like that it's done very loosely here. Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a financially struggling army veteran who's in dire need of money for his wife Amy's (Moses Ingram) surgery. This leads him to ask for a job from his adoptive brother and criminal Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), which turns out to be a bank robbery worth $32 million. After their getaway plans get altered, they end up in a car chase in an ambulance, having taken an EMT Cam (Eiza González) and a police officer (Jackson White) hostage.

For what it's worth, it's probably a good thing to say that Ambulance is a slight improvement from Bay's last film '6 Underground', in that it's somewhat comprehensible story-wise as there's a clear point A and point B. In similar fashion Bay, his stunt and SFX teams are yet again committed to bring practical stunts and action to the screen, those two elements working pretty seamlessly together to bring some excitement from time to time. It's more so time spent between those points and stunt-filled scenes that takes away the spirit from this ridiculous, ''B-movie'' spectacle. Even without necessarily comparing to the original's 80-minute runtime—which I haven't seen—you can feel the exhaustion from being slammed by outrageousness for baffling two hours and 10 minutes despite such a simple setup. There are no peaks and valleys, or even twists, to justify this kind of storytelling.

Gyllenhaal delivers some enjoyable camp, still never really steering away from shout-y acting, while Mateen II tries to bring some emotionality which often just suffers from poor timing considering what is happening with the plot. Them together with González and other supporting players, however, can't really make anything work because Fedak's dialogue is so incredibly repetitive and dumbed down, ultimately made worse by Bay having his eye on shinier objects.

Those objects, as tends to be the case with him, are DoP Robert De Angelis' camera work and editing sweatshop occupied by the trio of Doug Brandt, Pietro Scalia and Calvin Wimmer. Everything from unbelievably distracting drone footage to colour palettes seemingly wrapped in foil, combined with reactionary cuts to whomever has the dullest line, makes sitting through the movie feel like having a constant panic attack. This is also the very feeling that isn't helpful while trying to save someone's life in a speeding ambulance.

Smileys: Stunt choreography

Frowneys: Runtime, dialogue, cinematography, editing

One needs more cash and the other cashmere.


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